How to Choose a TV Advertising Agency: 5 Questions to Ask

Ready to make waves on the airwaves? Check out these expert tips for selecting the right creative TV advertising agency for your next campaign.

An illustration of businesspeople sitting around a table in the shape of a lightbulb as they discuss creative ideas for a TV commercial.

No matter what stage your business is in, choosing a creative agency for TV can greatly contribute to your success. However, finding the right piece to the puzzle can be challenging. 

Collaborating with a TV advertising agency not only guarantees top-quality ad production but also helps you stay within budget. This is especially significant for industry newcomers, who may unknowingly overspend on services such as media placement or hiring unsuitable actors.

Consider this guide your compass in the vast jungle of TV advertising, helping you find the perfect creative agency to light up your campaigns. Here are five guiding questions to assist you on the journey, and don't forget to check out our other guides for all you need to boost your marketing.

A film crew sets up a shot on a young actress in a colorful home for a TV commercial.

1. What are you hoping to achieve with TV?

Know your goals.

Are you trying to sell products? Or are you trying to expand your digital marketing efforts with more brand awareness?

Having clear goals is essential when planning your TV content with a creative agency. To be efficient with both time and resources, making a list of your main priorities helps the process remain focused and organized. It could be everything from enhancing brand awareness and visibility to launching a new product successfully. Consider your needs carefully and ask yourself specific questions, such as whether you aim to expand into a new channel or build up your existing marketing strategy with additional touchpoints. Investing in new channels without clear aims isn't cost-effective and will lead to ineffective use of resources and potential missed opportunities.

By clearly defining your goals upfront, you can streamline the selection process and focus on identifying partners who have the expertise and capabilities you meet those specific objectives. In addition, you also provide the creative agency with valuable insights into your goals and expectations, enabling them to tailor their strategies and solutions to best suit your needs.

Working with a partner who shares your commitment to these objectives ensures accountability and facilitates meaningful evaluation of campaign performance, which ultimately results in higher engagement, conversion rates, and overall campaign success.

2. What are the agency's unique vision and expertise, and do you like their work?

Experience is key.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, so be sure to familiarize yourself with creative agencies’ portfolios before choosing one.

Look for agencies that have a strong track record that displays their creativity, style, and experience. Make sure they have experienced marketers and creative professionals who have met business goals similar to yours in the past. Their expertise and understanding of your marketing goals will be instrumental in crafting effective strategies and campaigns tailored to your needs.

Besides reviewing the agency's portfolio, you can also ask for case studies or examples of their work with similar businesses. Once you've pinpointed these, engage with the agency to inquire about the strategies and techniques they employed to achieve those specific results. Asking them about their approach not only demonstrates your interest but also helps you understand their expertise and creative process in greater depth.

A close-up photo of a lens on a cinema camera during a TV commercial production.

3. What are you looking for in that first call?

Chemistry matters.

The chemistry of the first call tells you a lot about the agency, providing valuable insight into the agency's communication style and collaboration potential. If you decide on working with a full-service TV agency, chances are that you'll be investing considerable time alongside the agency's team as you strategize and execute your campaign. 

Testing for good chemistry is like tuning a radio to find your favorite station; ask questions to see if you're jamming to the same frequency. It's a bit like a first date—probe around to see if you're dancing to the same beat! 

​​An important aspect to consider is the availability and responsiveness of the agency. This demonstrates their professionalism, reliability, and commitment to timely communication, which are crucial for effective collaboration and successful project management. Additionally, a responsive agency is better equipped to address issues promptly, ensuring efficient workflows and excellent customer service. Having people around that are easy to work with and being able to see yourself in a long-term working relationship with them, is a great sign that the agency is adding value to your company. 

Ensure you confirm the team members assigned to your project. Initial discussions might involve top-tier talent, but you'll want assurance that your project will be handled by the right directors, producers, and creative strategists throughout.

After all, you must have confidence in the agency's ability to effectively convey your company's message across a broad platform and trust that they will make informed decisions on behalf of your company.

Two young business executives meet with a creative agency in NYC.

4. What's your budget?

Break out the spreadsheets.

Figuring out your budget can be tricky! A killer video ad might range from $30k to $500k, depending on what you're aiming for and your business goals. Either a documentary-style video or a big-budget, multi-location extravaganza could be spot-on for your brand, so sharing your goals and budget range with an agency helps them tailor the production to get the most bang for your buck.

Your budget, or more precisely, your budget range, determines the advertising options available to you. 

With a range of $30-50k, you can opt for repurposed graphics or a straightforward video featuring a customer or team member explaining your product or service.

If you have a budget range of $75-150k you’ll be able to gain a little more flexibility towards bringing your vision closer to reality. Services such as small graphics, simple animations or even hiring experienced actors will be possible in this range. Additionally, you have the option of shooting in a rented location, which matches the ideal concept of your campaign.

An ad with a budget range of $250k+ offers a lot more flexibility and options. Practically you have the chance to get a full campaign with talented actors, multiple locations, high quality and complex graphics. Due to the range, it is easier to get talented and professional cinematographers on board to create the perfect cinematic ad you’ve been looking for! 

A good agency won't leave you guessing; they'll break down the costs and reasons behind each budget range. They're on your team, aiming for your success, and eager to find that sweet spot where quality meets affordability.

5. What efficiencies does the agency bring to productions?

Keep your costs reasonable.

There are many ways to be efficient with costs. Cost efficiency doesn't mean cutting corners; it's about smart choices and value. Look for an agency that knows how to streamline expenses without compromising the quality or impact of your ads. A savvy agency will have creative solutions and strategies to maximize your budget, ensuring you get the most value for your budget without sacrificing the effectiveness or creativity of your campaigns. Here are some examples:

  • Find your own location. This might involve a generous client who is enthusiastic about sharing their space, both to ensure transparency for the audience to witness authentic results and to avoid the rapidly accumulating costs associated with location scouting and hiring. Even finding a place that can imitate multiple places at once is a great solution! That way you can get more stories, and more variations of scenes out of one shoot. 
  • Selecting music requires careful consideration, as securing rights for certain tracks can be challenging and costly. It's essential to explore affordable licensing options and seek out tracks that enhance your ad's message without breaking the budget. Additionally, opting for original compositions or royalty-free music can provide a cost-effective alternative while still maintaining the desired ambiance for your advertisement.
  • Work on multiple projects with the agency. If you’re planning a long-term TV campaign with multiple creatives, not only does this give you negotiating leverage when it comes to the contract but it means you can potentially reuse assets, reducing the cost of each ad.
  • Another very common option to keep the cost low is casting locally. Casting locally not only helps keep costs low but also fosters a connection with the community and can bring authentic talent to your project. Additionally, it can streamline logistics and ensure easier coordination during production.
  • Consider teaming up with a nimble boutique agency. It might not sound glamorous at first, but think about it: smaller agencies offer flexibility. And startups? That's their jam! They assemble just the right crew for your needs, skipping the fluff and overpriced extras that don't add value to your brand. It's all about being savvy with your spending and getting the most out of every dollar!
BTS from a commercial video shoot by a creative agency in NYC.


Here's what's important to remember!

Choosing an agency that understands your goals and has the relevant experience is crucial for making your dream ad come true! You need an agency with great responsiveness, and that communicates with you in a way that aligns with your working style.  

Here at Filmkraft we create partnerships with clients and make sure every dollar spent has the most creative impact. We’d love to help you achieve your marketing goals. 

Reach out today to discuss how to make your TV commercial a winner.